A Billings man was shot in the leg by a teenage boy after he reportedly punched out the glass window of a screen door.
Apparently, this man got into some sort of disturbance with a woman at a nearby restaurant and followed her as she returned to her home. It was at this point that the man punched out the window. After this, a teenager with a handgun confronted the man outside and proceeded to fire several rounds into the ground.
The man returned to his car but decided to come back again, and the teen fired several more rounds into the ground, but this time he hit the man once in the leg. The man was taken to the hospital and treated. No arrests were made immediately.
I imagine that this teen feels that his actions to defend his home (and perhaps his mother?) are more than justified, but this young man is so open to multiple charges if the local prosecutors so decide. However, this is Montana and not New Jersey, so maybe he gets a break depending on the actual circumstances surrounding this case. We don’t know if he is 13 or 19, and that could make a difference.
First of all, as a teen, he could be open to a weapons charge for possession and use of a handgun. Next, warning shots are never justified, so he could be open to aggravated assault or even attempted murder for those alone. There was no report that the aggressive man was armed, so self-defense could be a stretch here. Besides, it never looks like self-defense when you go to the fight. The man hadn’t broken into the home where the teen may have been permitted to use the handgun as a weapon of opportunity in self-defense, but rather the teen left the home to confront the man in the yard. Always let the fight come to you.
And then there is the question as to how did this teen get the gun. Was it the woman’s and she didn’t have it stored so that he couldn’t have access to it? Did he obtain it illegally on his own somehow? Could the woman be charged for improperly storing the gun with a teen in the home?
This is why it is so important to know self-defense law before it becomes necessary to defend oneself. Knowing the law helps to avoid unnecessary legal risks and also helps to be able to act decisively when there is no other option.